Thursday, December 17, 2009

Answers Pilot and the future of SF Communities

So we are seeing the next evolution of Salesforce with its Service Cloud 2 offerings and now the Sales Cloud 2 offerings and many of you have notice the seeming corporate jump on the proverbial Social Networking Bandwagon. What are you thoughts about this?

Also Dreamforce unveiled the new Chatter Application which will be among us soon. So Social Networking and collaboration seem to be the general dance being danced.

One may think my tone shows some skepticism but in truth not so. I am seeing the great possibilities that then move into the Social Networking arena SF can have. From a Support point the more “Channels” available for your Knowledge to be seen the happier your Customers, or something like that.

Anyway, the move forward SF is taking in the nature of Communities, first with Ideas and soon to be Answers, gives our own SF Users something to use to interact with one another but has even greater benefits for our Customers. Ideas was a start and was ideal for granting your Customers the ability to suggest Product enhancements etc. Answers will hopefully fill the other gab.

SF Cases helps solve issues your Customers may have in traditional sense but is it not more satisfying when those forums that do work have Product Team members, Sales folk and Support Techies chiming in a dialog of sorts to bring a satisfactory conclusion to that frustrating bug or question you have had?

Answers helps here, or at least it will do. Right now Answers is in its Pilot phase and yes I have access to it. At first I was like what the heck is this as it does not have the interface that Ideas has. In fact at this time the Answers tab in my org takes me to an Enhanced List view. I was intially confused and wondered what I could possibly do to give it more of an Ideas or forum interface. I started getting all hot under the collar with the thoughts of more Visualforce and Apex development.

Fortunately a quick email to the Answers Product Management team gave me an Answer, excuse the pun. The next release (February time) will see something similar to the below, with the caveat that it might look slightly different. The sreenshot shows the SF Dev teams Dev edition as of today.

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